Angela Moore has an incredibly inspiring story. When she joined the financial service industry, she was battling the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. She struggled with adversity, discrimination, and workplace challenges at a large financial services wirehouse. She knew she had to push through because she knew that financial planning was her calling.
Angela struggled to join a team for the first several years of her financial planning career. She was working 80 hours a week to find success, meet her numbers, and get noticed.
After several years on her own, she was brought on to a team where she finally felt appreciated, heard, and where her ideas were valued. But, as an African American advisor who worked for Merrill Lynch during a class-action discrimination lawsuit, she began to realize just how much discrimination was going on behind the scenes. This experience shook Angela to her core. The attorneys dealing with the discrimination case had opened her eyes to the flaws in the financial service industry, and inspired her to get more involved in the D&I movement within the financial planning profession.
She moved through other wirehouse wealth management businesses that promoted diversity and embraced forward-thinking inclusion movements, but ended up opening her own financial planning practice, Modern Money Advisor.
She knew that her calling was to work with people who wanted to grow wealth, not necessarily help people who already have wealth to manage. She wanted to connect with clients from her own community and she wanted to make financial planning accessible for everyone.
Listening to this episode, you’re going to be inspired to follow your passion, grow wealth in your community, and embrace who you are whether you are a financial planner or not!
What You'll Learn:
How many people aren’t even aware of the behind-the-scenes discrimination that goes on in the financial service industry which trickles down to the financial planning profession
How connecting with your natural market can be a fantastic way to ignite your fire and love your career
Ways you can market yourself to a community that may not have assets to invest right now, but still find financial literacy valuable
What it means to be your authentic self in your career
How being yourself in this profession will positively impact all of the women who come after you
What financial planning looks like in the world of #MeToo, female empowerment among business owners (especially women of color)
How you can bring enthusiasm and joy to your work by being who you are
Ways that mentorship positively impacts this profession, and can support diversity
How being yourself, especially as a woman of color, can help you build your brand and connect with your ideal client niche
Young Gifted & Black - Nina Simone
Rianka: 00:00:00 Angela, thank you so much for coming onto 2050 TrailBlazers.
Angela: 00:00:04 Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to beyond this and I've listened to all of the previous podcasts and they've all been amazing. So I'm excited to be one of the people that you've invited on.
Rianka: 00:00:18 Yes, yes, yes. Well it was very important for me because I know a lot of awesome people and with the platform that I have, I know I'm super blessed and, and now it's time for me to elevate other people and with this platform I think, you know, the stories that are being told are so important and I'm so excited that you said yes to sharing yours.
Angela: 00:00:42 Yes. You just have this warm energy where people are going to be attracted to you. They're going to gravitate to you because of that energy and I mean that's kind of what happened with me.
Rianka: 00:00:56 Yeah. So for the listeners that I always love to do this kind of share with the listener, it's how we met, but we've actually never met in person. No. Oh. Oh, that's for sure. Oh, that is for sure. So we've never met in person, we've known each other for like, I dunno, a couple of years now. We've always stayed in contact and um, you know, before we started, you know, chat chatting today, I was trying to remember like, how did I meet Angela? And before I got extremely busy on my website, I had an advisor to advisor tap where advisors can book time with me 30 minutes, you know, free because I'm just like, I'm a wealth of knowledge I want to share, I want to help, I want to motivate people. But that's not how we met.
Angela: 00:01:44 No it's not. I was working at a corporate job as a financial advisor and I had it on my mind that I needed to step out and do this thing that I've been thinking about. And so I thought, well I've never met anyone who's doing this. So I went online and I just started researching for young advisors who are working with, you know, younger clients and how it just wanted to see like, is there anyone doing this and how are they doing it? And you know, I didn't, I didn't really. At the time I was scared and I didn't want to just step out and do something and I really believe in having allies and having women lifting each other up. I'm, I'm that type of woman when people reach out to me. So I thought let me find someone that I can reach out to and so I don't know how I found you, but I found you on like facebook or, or, or your website or something.
Angela: 00:02:47 And then I was watching a video and it was like a video you had posted on facebook I think, and you were in this hotel room and you were like, I quit my job, I'm launching my own business. And you were talking about how passionate you are about helping people and how so many people don't have the assets, you know, required to work with most financial advisors and that you just wanted to bridge that gap. And I'm sitting there still at this job, you know, that I wanted to leave and I wanted to do what you were doing. And so you were just so transparent. You were so warm. You were so authentic that I said I need to talk to her. And you were in DC and you know, I went to Howard, so I was like dc girl, you know, she's a minority like me and like she's doing this and she's so amazing and smart and you know, I just, I, I think I sent you an instant message through facebook and then you were like, oh, go to my website on this link and book a time. So that's how I got through to that link.
Rianka: 00:04:03 Yeah. Got it. Okay. And I remember speaking with you, this is what I had a, uh, office out of We Work and so I'm, I'm visually remembering our conversation. I was pacing outside in the front of the building and speaking to you and how just I, I in your voice, I heard the passion that you have for this profession, but the sadness that you had because you couldn't fully bring your authentic self to the forefront. And I was like I have to help her. And it's a gift and a curse that I have. Like if I see something in other people and I feel like I have the power, I have the strength to help you, I am going to help you. And I was like, oh no girlfriend, we need to figure something out because this light that you have, I can see it diming and we can't have that happen.
Angela: 00:04:57 Pretty much. That's where I was.
Rianka: 00:05:02 Yeah. So you have over 15 years of experience. Just to catch the listeners up, you have over 15 years of experience in the financial service industry and you recently launched your own firm. Tell us about it.
Angela: 00:05:15 Tell you about my history. I studied accounting at Howard and after my sophomore year I interned in texts with kpmg and it was probably the most boring thing I'd ever done in my life. It was 12 hour days sitting behind a computer running reports and I thought to myself, I can't do this, like this is not gonna work because I've always been a very social person. And so then I thought, oh, I want to do fraud investigation with Deloitte. So I interned at Deloitte the next summer and that was after my junior year, so I was going into my senior year and it was just as bad, you know, in accounting, you have to work your way up. So it's like the first, I don't know, 12 years, you're, you may just be sitting behind a computer. So I was just lost. I, I, I knew I didn't want to do accounting and it, but I didn't know what else to do.
Angela: 00:06:11 So after graduating I ended up in the car business, and I was buying it. It's the craziest story. I saw. I saw an ad in the paper saying earn up to $150,000 per year. No experience necessary, finance manager. Right. And it was at a Nissan dealership. So I, um, and it was in another, it was in another state. It was about four hours away. So I pretended that I lived in that state and I drove up for the interview the morning of. I got up, I must have got up at like four in the morning and drove there. Wow. I just had this confidence about me when I was younger that it, there was nothing that I couldn't do, so I put a suit on and I went in there. I was 23 years old because I had taken some time off to model before I got a job.
Angela: 00:07:05 So I walk in there, I'll confident with my resume and they interview me and then they're like, we want to offer you the job. And I'm thinking to myself for real? Ok. You know. Little did I know that they were having serious problems with staffing. They had just had another finance manager quit and then they had another finance manager that basically went crazy probably because of the hours they were working. Right. I had no idea what I was stepping into by the way, taking this job. So, um, they kind of threw me in there and trained me. And um, I did extremely well. I was promoted to finance director within six months and I. After that I was hiring other finance managers. I was training them, but it was a finance job where when people buy a car, they fill out an application to get financed for that car and I was the person they came to to get approved with a lender, so that's where my journey as a financial advisor first started because I was seeing so many people that just had bad credit and didn't realize it or they were, you know, 50, 60 years old making great money and had no down payment, you know, it's almost like I would say, well, you know, good news.
Angela: 00:08:30 I was able to get you approved for a loan, but the bank is asking for a $1,500 down payment and they would be like, I don't have $1,500.
Rianka: 00:08:30 And these are people who are making really good money?
Angela: 00:08:43 All different income. I mean, you name it. In one time I had someone who who makes 800,000 a year. He was a boxer. I couldn't get him approved. This is when I worked at Mercedes Benz. I couldn't them approved for a car loan. I saw that there was an epidemic going on. It's almost like being a doctor at the doctor's office and you're seeing how many people are really sick out there. That's how it was for me. I was seeing left and right. So many people that didn't understand how credit works, you know, they didn't understand. They would think they have good credit, but they'd have bad credit or they think they have bad credit and they'd have good credit and just the lack of savings.
Angela: 00:09:26 It was like getting a down payment out of someone, even of just $500 or a thousand dollars was like pulling teeth. Like people just didn't have it. Wow. And that's when I was um, you know, shown just just how crazy the people are as far as, um, not knowing, you know, the financially illiterate basically. And that's what sparked my interest. And then what happened is that I also had horrible, horrible habits with money. First of all, I went to Howard on full academic scholarship and I bartended all throughout school. So I was making probably, you know, I was making good money and in college, but I had no responsibilities. I had no bills. So I would just be out spending my money shopping, doing whatever, just balling out of control in college. And when I got out of school I was making this all this money in the car business.
Angela: 00:10:33 I was making well over six figures and I was 23 years old and I went out, you know, I bought a nice car, I was still buying nice clothing, you know, Gucci and whatever I wanted because I could, couldn't, I felt like I could afford it. And then it was like, people in my ear, you need a house, you know, you need tax write offs. And I didn't know what I was doing. I went out and bought a house. And so next thing you know, I'm 25 years old and I'm, I'm in debt, I have credit card debt, I have a mortgage, I have a car loan, I'm living this lifestyle. Right? And at the time I could afford it. So I was just like, who cares, I can afford it. And I was saving, but I didn't know how much should I be? Should I be saving $300 a month?
Angela: 00:11:18 1,200? I mean, I didn't know I was just saving whatever. I had no strategy. And so what happened is that in 2007, maybe the car business took a steep decline and I had, I had money saved up. I think I may have had like $50,000 saved up and I was, you know, 26, 27 now. That's good money right there at 27. In hindsight, the money I was making, now that I know what I know, years later I should have easily had 300,000 to 400,000 saved up. That's how much money I was making. But you, you just don't know because you, you've gone through college, you can go through, you know, med school, Grad School, whatever. No one's ever talked to you about personal finance. And I was an accounting major and I still didn't understand personally. I mean I had a great budget, I had an 800 beacon score.
Angela: 00:12:12 Um, but I still did not know what I was doing my money. And so I found myself having $8,000 worth of bills every month. Wow. And it got to the point where I was working 80 hours a week, I was exhausted. I didn't have time to work out, I wasn't eating healthy. All I did was work. I didn't see my friends, I didn't see my family. So I started getting depressed and I wanted to do something else, but I couldn't. Where is a 26, 27 year old going to go and make that kind of money? Right. You know, I had to stay at that job.
Rianka: 00:12:44 That's like the golden handcuffs, especially if, if you're not used to make a lot of money or if, if like you're a first generation college graduate and you experience money for the first time. I've seen a pattern where that's what we do. We're like, oh, we need to buy a house and instead of getting a Toyota Camry, we want to buy a Mercedes Benz and we're actually not buying it. We're leasing it. We're getting these very expensive clothes. And um, it's just, it's kind of like, it feels good. Right? But that's, that's tangible wealth, right? Because it's like the tangible. Because you want people to see versus the intangible which is what's in our bank account so people can't see it. You know, I, I joke and say, you know, I don't have money for that all the time. Like my friends, like, oh, you want to go to brunch, you have this. I'm just saying, no, I don't have money for that. Do I have money in my bank account? Absolutely. But for what they're asking me to do, I don't have money for that because it's not in my budget. And I as a financial planner, especially as a business owner, we have to live by a budget.
Angela: 00:13:52 Yes. And I had a budget but it wasn't that kind of budget. It was more like, oh, this is what I have going out and this is what I have coming in. But it wasn't like, Oh, let me pay myself first. Let me save money, let me stack, let me, you know, plan. For some it wasn't that kind of budget. It was more like, okay, I know what's coming in and I know what's going out and I can afford it. But what happened is that I took a lump sum of my savings and I renovated my kitchen and then right after that the market just tanked in terms of the job market and the car, the car sales, whatever. So one month I go from making, like I used to make between 13 to 18,000 a month. I go from that to $2,000 in one month.
Angela: 00:14:41 And I'm like, this isn't after taxes, this isn't even enough to pay my mortgage. So that is what sparked a red flag. Like, wait, what if this continues happen? What if this isn't the only time? You know? And at that point I went to try and find a financial advisor. I called all over the place. Half of these people never returned my call. The others, you know, it was like I didn't have assets. All I had was money in a 401k and I had a little bit of savings, right? Because I had spent a lot of my savings and on the kitchen to nobody wants to work with me because I didn't have the assets. So then I found this guy, his name is Sam callick and he's like a straight talker. I was kind of scared of him to be honest, but he was like, he was like, it's going to be $1,600.
Angela: 00:15:30 I feel like it's my public duty to help you, but it's going to cost you. And I was like $1,600. You must have lost your mind. I'm not paying $1,600. I was looking at my closet and it was like Gucci Shoes for 700, you know, and I'm like, Angela, you are so dumb, like you're wasting all your money on all this stupid stuff in your closet and you're not willing to invest in yourself and in your future. And I had to, I had to check myself and I went back to him and I paid him that money and he said, bring me everything, bring me all your bills, bring everything to this first meeting. In that first meeting he was like, no more shopping. You have enough crap in your closet or eating out, learn how to cook, you know, go grocery shopping. Use coupons. He was like, no more cable.
Angela: 00:16:22 Read a book, exercise, hang out with your friends, like he just cut out so many things out of my monthly budget that he cut out like $800 just in that one hour meeting and then from there we took the $800 and we put it towards debt and I quickly paid off my debt. I think I was debt free and about six months at the same time we were aggressively saving and I saved quite a bit of money to the point where one day I just had it at work and I was able to quit
Rianka: 00:16:52 Let's pause real quick, Angela, because you brought up quite a few very important points that I don't want to get missed. One is that if you want help, if you want professional help from experts, there's a price and you have to pay for it.
Angela: 00:17:07 Yeah, but I got that money. I mean just in working with him, like he changed my life. He changed my life. That meeting, he told me in that meeting, he was like, when you leave here today, I want you to look at all the advertisements, all the billboards out there. He said, all of these people are spending millions of dollars trying to get a piece of what you take home every day. He said, the key is for you to keep as much of it as possible. He was like, you can either make yourself rich or you can make someone else rich and I, to this day, I tell my clients that same thing because that is what made a difference in my mindset.
Rianka: 00:17:45 That's real life right there. And he is a straight shooter. I can see why you were scared of him after your first meeting. But he kind of scared, scared straight. But so, so the first point is like one, if you really want help and if you want expert help, you have to pay for it. Like there people go to the doctor and don't blink an eye when they have to pay a copayment. Um, I find it so disheartening when, you know, folks reached out to me or you're probably going to be experiencing this now that you are a business owner is just like, oh wait, I have to pay for this. Like, you know, I'm a certified financial planner. I have training, I have continuing education like we are experts in our field and we hold these marks for a reason. You're expert in what you do and your consulting job and you're a doctor job and your lawyer job. We're experts in personal finance. Like this is what we eat, live and breathe everyday.
Rianka: 00:18:35 Another point that you brought up was if we look in our closet, like we will quickly give Gucci or whomever, $800 or a thousand dollars or even the cable company, $200 a month, but we won't invest that into ourself. And so I think, um, I'm happy we're having this conversation because hopefully this is a mind shift for the listeners who are either on the fence of hiring a financial planner, a certified financial planner, or just of saying like, I live paycheck to paycheck. Like have you really looked at your budget and what you're spending your money on it to see if there's actual things that you can take out of your budget. When I have meetings with clients and when we're talking about budgeting and have a program called budget on purpose. When we walked through their budget, I don't tell them what to cut out or what to keep because I don't want to place my values on them, but I do share with them the difference and all right, let's see.
Rianka: 00:19:33 Let's see if we can shave off x amount and now it's up to you where you're going to pick that from. And it's so funny. Like cable for some reason is the last to go.
Angela: 00:19:48 People will hold onto that NFL package they're like, that and getting your hair and nails done. Like people are like, no thank you. I'm not getting rid of that.
Rianka: 00:19:53 Well, you know, we're making someone else rich, but I mean. Oh goodness. So I can see why for you, you know, since I've been following you, promoting financial literacy is, is so huge for you. I mean, you give so much back to your community and it's very evident why now I kind of want to know how you found financial planning and financial advising and then let's talk about why you finally decided to take the leap and just leave corporate America and start your own thing.
Angela: 00:20:25 After engaging with that financial advisor and kind of having my whole life change. Thankfully I was able to leave that job that I felt stuck at. I felt like a slave and trapped and so I was able to leave the car business and kind of figure out what I wanted to do and I was in my mind I was like, I want to be like him. I want to change people's lives. I want to go out there and make a difference. And I had it in my mind that, you know, I'm big on vision boarding and stuff like that. And, and dreaming and goals I had in my mind. I saw myself as a woman sitting at someone's dining room table or even my dining room table. Just helping someone, you know, person to person in a relaxed environment. And so that I was like, I'm going to become a financial advisor and it's the perfect job because they don't work weekends and you know, there weren't normal banking hours and that's perfect for me.
Angela: 00:21:22 And then I knew that some day if you wanted to, you could be like the next susie Ormand or you could have a small practice from your house. I knew that there were options and to me those options is what I knew that I was going to need. I knew that someday I may get married, I may want to have kids. What if I want flexibility, I can't be sitting in this car dealership 80 hours a week, you know. So, um, so I became a financial advisor, which was, is a whole nother story. I interviewed with Merrill Lynch. And um, at that time they had an explicit, um, campaign where they were trying to hire diversity. They were, I mean, they were focusing on diversity and in fact they had our southeast regional diversity manager and that's who I interviewed with. And you know, me being in the car business, they kind of looked down on that a little bit I would say, but um.
Angela: 00:22:28 Keith Webb was that person and he's now at Spelman, but he hired me, he spoke to me and he was just, I feel like he was blown away in that first meeting. And then next thing you know, he was in that first meeting, he was introducing me to the director, all these different people. So I ended up getting hired. However, right in the middle of that process, the market just tanked. This was 2008. The market crashed and you know, Lehman went out of business. All this stuff went on and everyone went on a hiring freeze. So I was kind of like in limbo, not knowing what would happen. And even though I had worked with financial advisors, I didn't really know anything about this business. I knew that I wanted to help people. So, you know, there was the whole thing of studying for the series seven and all that.
Angela: 00:23:25 So basically I was kind of just unemployed waiting around. And at that time I started studying and stuff and I, I started with Merrill Lynch. It's crazy because talking about diversity, my past resume, right. I had worked at KPMG and Deloitte and I had been in the car business and while I was in the car business, I was always in the top 10, you know, I was top 10 in the region, top 10 in the nation. I was really good at what I did. And so I came into Merrill Lynch with a very, very strong resume. I graduated from Howard with honors, you know, my resume was on point and the day that I got hired, there was a young white gentleman that also got hired and he, he was from Alabama. He had played football at Alabama. I remember the day we started, everyone was crowded around his desk.
Angela: 00:24:19 Hey, I'm Bob, nice to meet you. Welcome to Merrill Lynch, you know, and like everyone was introducing themselves to him. And next thing you know, a week later he was on a team and I'm there by myself. No one really came over to introduce themselves to me. I would be in the hallway like, hi, I'm Angela. At the time of my, my maiden name was Cochran, I'm Angela Cochran, like, nice to meet you. And they would just, some of them just wouldn't even speak. It was, it was an interesting environment. I mean it was mostly men. This is in Atlanta, Georgia and it was just, it was mostly men and there weren't a lot of women, but there was one, there was probably about six women in the entire complex that we're advisors. And there were 180 advisors in that complex.
Rianka: 00:25:06 Wow. So out of 180 there were six women and there was, and there was what?
Angela: 00:25:16 Well, there is, you know, one other black woman.
Rianka: 00:25:20 So hold on. Out of 180 people. There was two women of color.
Angela: 00:25:28 In Atlanta, in Atlanta, in Atlanta, in Atlanta, which is 61 percent.
Angela: 00:25:35 So what I mean there was, there was also an Asian woman. There were, there were other, there were other black women, but they were in administrative roles. Okay. In terms of being a financial advisor and trying to like build a book of business, you know, there was, there was one other woman, her name is Nasha Noles and you know, I relied on her heavily and she's very successful and I went to her all the time. I mean just if it was just to be like, hey, how's your day? Just to have someone that was responsive and cared about me, you know?
Rianka: 00:26:15 And so it's important to have other team members that can either from a cultural standpoint or from just the background standpoint that is able to relate to you because it has that level of comfort. But again, like I don't want something to go missed, uh, in a, in a, in a point that you just mentioned as far as like picking teams. So I've heard this a lot with like the Merrill lynches and the other wirehouses,
Rianka: 00:26:44 broker type firms, organizations is that you come on as an individual like Angela, but you have to then join a team. And I've heard this and we're in 2018 now. How still women and women of color are reaching out to me saying it's hard for them to get on the team and so it's, it's disheartening that 10 years later we're still having the same conversation about, you know, this guy who was from Alabama with no experience right out of college, no experience right out of college. People were just surrounding his desk of, you know, trying to make sure they knew their name but they weren't crowded around yours. How did that make you feel?
Angela: 00:27:35 I guess I should say in a way I was used to because the car business is heavily male dominated as well. And so I guess I had a really, really thick skin from being in the car business, which was a blessing in disguise. And so I just looked at it like, oh, I'm going to show them, you know, that's how I looked at it. Like I'm going to bust my butt. I'm going to have everyone knowing who I am. Like that's just how I looked at it. And I, I looked at it at that time, which was kind of a very ignorant way to look at it like I'm about to kill the game, you know, keep in mind it was 2008. So it was hard, you know, people didn't want to invest at the time. In fact, most people were pulling money out of the market.
Angela: 00:28:28 I'm add that to the fact that one thing I learned was, it's not hard to find people who have wealth, you know, you see people out here with Mercedes Benz and beautiful homes and luxury clothing and you try to engage with them and they're in there just in debt, you know, they're trying to get help on eliminating their debt. They, they, a lot of people that I knew that I thought had money didn't have money. So it became all of a sudden a struggle of well, like who has money and then of those people who's going to work and work with me because I'm new, you know. And it was, it was hard. I would stay in the office till 11:00 at night. I would cold call. I would go to networking events every single night of the week. I worked so hard. There were people there that literally some of them would be like, auntie some such and such, you know, can you wire $5,000,000, you know?
Angela: 00:29:24 And it was like I would see that and it was discouraging to me. I had to go and get $100,000 here and 250 there and you know, there were times Rianka where you know you have to meet minimums or you get fired. There were times when I had no clue how I was going to make that minimum, that minimum would that, that deadline would be a week away and I'd be like, I'm not going to meet it. And then all of a sudden something would come in. Last minute. It was almost like God was telling me, listen, I brought you this far. I'm not going to let you fail. And I remember I used to go at lunchtime I would go and I would sit in my car and I would listen to that song. It ain't over til God says it's over and I would just pray and I would cry and then I would go back in the office and I would stay there till 11:00 at night.
Angela: 00:30:17 I would work so hard and I made it like my starting class when I started at Merrill was 40, 42 people maybe within six months there were six of us. Wow. It was hardcore. People were just getting. Especially, you know, minorities. They just, a lot of them just weren't making it. They weren't making the numbers. They were getting let go. There were getting fired. People were getting laid off like crazy because it was 2008. For some reason I just kept hitting those numbers. Barely. I'm not going to act like I was killing the game. I was barely hitting those numbers, but at the end of the day, at the end of those three and a half years, that's the training program at Merrill Lynch. At the end of the day, I was the only person from that class that I know of that made it through the whole three and a half years.
Angela: 00:31:12 This is how I look at it. I have a purpose, everyone has something, they're blessed with, skill, their skills, whatever, and I feel like it's my job to spread this. This journey I've been on was not by accident, all the hardship, all the things I've gone through it was to prepare me to help so many people. That's how I look at it. Like I, I wasn't able to fail because it is in my destiny. It is my purpose to make it and you know, it's not just given to me. Obviously I worked extremely hard to, to make it, but yeah, so after two years on my own, I finally was able to persuade a team to take me on. And in my first six months on that team, I learned more than I had learned in the first two years on my own. So teaming is really important because you don't know what you don't know and working with a senior advisor, you just learn so much.
Angela: 00:32:17 And the advisor that I was working with, it was a large group actually, but the person who kind of was responsible for training me was a Barron's advisor and the team, the way that it worked is, you know, you did a lot of high volume so I got exposure to a lot of things really quick and super high net worth. And so I was seeing concentrated stock positions. I was doing complex cashflow analysis and cashflow planning. I was doing stock options and, and um, IPOs and just, I had exposure to so many things that I never had exposure to when I was on my own, you know, in the first two years.
Rianka: 00:33:03 And it's because you had an opportunity to join a team.
Angela: 00:33:03 Correct.
Rianka: 00:33:09 And you know, it's Angela, like I'm over here emotional.
Angela: 00:33:12 I'm sorry I got emotional.
Rianka: 00:33:15 No, like from your story because yeah, I hear so many of these stories still today. Like we just want to succeed in it and it's not a matter of, you know, pull your bootstraps up and just keep it moving because we try it. If anything were we will be one of the hardest working people on your team. Just give us a shot, you know, and you had to wait two years in order for someone just to add you to their team. And so it's, you know, what's happening in America today. We talk about systematic racism and it sounds like from a financial service organization standpoint is it's systematic. It's just like organizational where why, why were you not put on a team? Why did you have to wait, you know, and just from, from even with, even when you say you know, the one of your colleagues saying, Hey Auntie, can you just wire a few million dollars here?
Rianka: 00:34:27 And you're just like, wow, I'm just trying to get 100,000. Even even still today, like you had to work 80 hours to meet your, your quote, status quotas, whatever. However you know it worked. You had to work 80 hours. Whereas someone who was on a team or come from a different background than you or had a family that came from money, that person probably only had to work 25, 30 hours a week to meet their numbers. I hope the people who need to hear this story, listen to see what we're talking about as far as we are an extension of our community and some of us don't come from very wealthy communities is not like we're not trying to change that dynamic or that narrative, but we just need support in this first generation, like we're trying to break those chains of, of, of passing on debt to generations. Like now what we're trying to do is pass on wealth. Yes. Oh yeah. I, I hope whoever like in and who needs to be listening to this, and I hope if you are listening to this episode that you give this to your managers. You give this to the team lead, you give this to the diversity and inclusion director. You get this to the CEO and say, this is what I'm talking about. Like you don't even have to say anything. Just say press play.
Angela: 00:35:57 Well it, it gets crazier. I don't know if you know this, but Merrill Lynch had a class action lawsuit, um, for African American advisors and it was started with one gentleman who was kind of forced who he was a senior advisor. He was an African American advisor and he was forced into a teaming situation with two other advisors and shortly after they broke up as a team and the firm split his accounts with those other two advisors accounts that he had had before they became a team. And so what happened is that he was seeing from his other friends in the firm that similar situations were happening, just all kinds of different stories. And so what was going on for years, they were investigating and there was a class action lawsuit. And so I was a African American advisor that worked at the firm during that time.
Angela: 00:37:01 And so all of the African American advisors got a notice about the, uh, about the lawsuit. And you could either just send in the paper or you could go and kind of tell some of your stories to the attorneys. Right. And so I flew to Chicago to meet with the attorneys and, Rianka they told me, they said, Angela, we don't want to know if you were discriminated against. They were like, we have plenty of evidence to show that, we just want to hear some of your personal stories. And that threw me back because I felt like there were little things here and there. But what I realized after going to that meeting and what they told me was that I had no clue, Rianka they had stacks of paper all over that desk. All of that was data. They had data, they had numbers. They told me, Angela, over the course of you being at that firm your average white male counterpart was distributed 17 accounts.
Angela: 00:38:13 Okay. That means like when a financial advisor would leave, they would distribute their accounts. Rianka I'm not, I was there almost five years. I never had that happen to me. I never had an account just given to me like that. So I was kind of like, what? I had no idea that was going on.
Rianka: 00:38:38 And when you say an account it is like clients like a household. Oh Wow.
Angela: 00:38:41 Given to you. So I, you know, I did not know that was, there was all kinds of stuff that they shared with me and it was, it was um, eyeopening because I, I had no clue that any of that was not only that, but they said, you know, when I started I started in 2008, so they gave me a really low salary. I mean it was $40,000 and keep in mind I had been making like 160, 180 before I took that job.
Angela: 00:39:12 So it was like me going and living on $2,000 on like nothing basically. And I found out that like someone who was hired at the same time as me with less experience was getting paid $75,000.
Rianka: 00:39:30 Wow. And was this a male?
Angela: 00:39:35 Yes, it was a white male. So these attorneys were just sharing data with me data that I had not previously been privy to, didn't know about, you know, had no clue. So when I found that out, I was like, wow, I. It was eyeopening. I see how this is like I, I see why they have a class action lawsuit. I mean, I don't know, it was just, it was eyeopening, but at that time I was already at Schwab because what happened is that I didn't really like Atlanta and I wanted to move to Florida but I didn't want to have to start over again in terms of building a network and with Charles Schwab when you start working there, they give you a book of business so they give you about 300 clients and it's about $300 million dollars, so instead of having to go out there and start from scratch and build a whole new practice, they kind of give you a practice to run and so it worked out good for me to transition to Florida and so Schwab was a totally different experience because at Merrill you have to get all your own clients, you have to prospect, you have to find people.
Angela: 00:40:47 At Schwab it's totally different. It's like now you have all these people but you don't know them, so you have to try and build relationships with them and sometimes they've had multiple advisors so they're kind of like, who's this new girl, you know, but the culture was so different at Schwab because it was just way more diverse and more um, I guess Schwab's based in San Francisco, you know, it's just one of those more, it's a different environment and I really, really enjoyed working at Schwab, but I realized that when you're working with high net worth clients and older people and that kind of thing, it's rewarding, but a lot of them already have money. So your impact is a little different, you know? And so what was happening is that when you're trying to prospect, I don't know if you had the same kind of experience, but let's say you're trying to prospect someone with wealth and they are a 65, 70 year old white male for example.
Angela: 00:41:55 It's kind of like, what do I have in common with this person trying to find something relatable, you know, and this person is out on the golf course with their buddies. Like I've had this happen to me before where they'll say, oh, my buddy, you know, that I play golf with, he's an advisor to and I'm going with him. And it's kind of like, well, it's so much harder for me to gain footing because I don't play golf. And um, I don't hang out on, you know, with 70 year old white people or whatever. I mean, it's just not the same. So what was happening was that I would get so many people referred to me all the time, but they would be my age and they would not have a ton of savings, but they, you know, great income and they just need help and Angela such and such told me to call you and that you're the financial advisor.
Angela: 00:42:48 And so what was happening is that Rianka I would tell people, come see me at 5:00 PM after work or come see me on Saturday or let's meet on Sunday. And I was helping all these people for years, I was helping people on the side. Sounds like me. Yeah. And then one day I'm sitting at work and I had seven referrals in one week and they were all my natural market. And I thought to myself, I'm not even advertising, I'm not marketing, I don't even have a website. Like I don't have anything. These people are just coming to me naturally. And all of a sudden I just saw like there's a huge opportunity there for me to work with people I naturally interact with all the time who I have so much in common with. And it just sparked a flame in me that this is what I want to do.
Angela: 00:43:37 And the other thing that happened, there was a young attorney that came to me back in, oh I want to say 2010 maybe. And she was an attorney. She was making like $150,000 a year or something like that. She had a mortgage, I think she had a car note and she has a lot of student loan debt from law school. And she was one of the people that I kind of helped in the evening and we, we set up a budget and we talked about, you know, saving and just all the different things that, that I go into with people and I put a plan together. It was, it was just basically a budget like, okay, this is what you need to put this money aside for this and what if you want to get married, what if you want to do this? What if you want to do that?
Angela: 00:44:20 What if you want to, you know, not be a lawyer anymore. Like, let's start saving and then let's aggressively pay off debt. Right. Well soon after that she ended up moving to New York and I ended up moving to Miami and so we kind of lost touch and one day I get this message on Linkedin from her. She found me on linkedin and she's like, Angela, I did everything you told me to. I paid off all my student loan debt and I think she had probably a $150,000 in student loan debt. She was like, I paid off all my student loan debt, I sold my house, I got rid of my car, I live in New York, so I take the subway and she was like, and I have $75,000 saved and I'm ready to start investing. I felt so good. I feel good when that kind of stuff happens. That's what drives me. Money doesn't drive me and I think that was very frustrating to my boss, but what drives me is a positive impact in people's lives. That's what drives me.
Rianka: 00:45:28 Same here. And I think that's why we're kind of like kindred spirits in a sense of um, you know, I was working. I've never worked for a wirehouse or a brokerage firm. I've always worked in the RIA space, registered investment advisory, which is like a boutique small firm. And in order to work with me, you had to have at least a million dollars, $1,000,000 of investible assets and talk about natural market that, you know, I don't know anyone personally with one zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero of, of investible assets. Now do they own a home? That's a million dollars, yes, but they also have a mortgage that's now 150,000. So from a, from a natural market standpoint, that wasn't it, but you know, I was um, I too was like the financial guru to my peers. My colleagues have just like Rianka, you're a financial planner. We're about to buy a house, like, is this a good move or we're ready to pay off our student loan debt or we want to buy or lease a car or oh, we have money to start investing, how do we do it?
Rianka: 00:46:36 And I couldn't help them at the firms I was with and so I will talk to them after hours or on the weekends and eventually I was like, you know, this feeling same with you. Like I'm not driven by money. I left six figures, um, so that I can start my firm and I haven't been happier since I'm helping people and I can see that you and myself and, and people like us, we're making a tangible impact in people's lives. Yes. It's just an amazing feeling.
Angela: 00:47:10 It's funny you say that because I haven't been happier either. I am so happy.
Rianka: 00:47:14 Yeah. Now don't get me wrong, and I think you're finally. It started to experience this too as far as just like what it means to be a business owner and now you wear three hats. You're no longer just the technician. For all the listeners out there who want to start a business, I highly recommend that you read the E Myth by Michael Gerber. It talks about the three hats you wear of being an entrepreneur, a technician, and a manager, and for so long, for so many years you've only had to wear one hat, which is the technician hat, which is that financial planner hat that you've wearing. And now it's like the entrepreneur hat, that visionary that. I mean, I'm following you now and just like everything that you're creating is just mind blowing to me. And then on top of that you have to run a business.
Rianka: 00:48:01 So. So let's transition and let's just talk about that. And I also want to talk about just being our full authentic self because I finally felt for me personally, I can finally be Rianka. I can finally be the funny, the silly, the just like me who I am, I can wear my hair curly and not feel shamed about it. I can wear bright colors and not feel like am I overshadowing, you know, someone else or like I can just fully step into being my authentic self. And I was listening to a interview by Stacy Brown Philpot. She's the CEO of Task Rabbit and I'll play the clip, um, right after this, I'll play the clip and she talks about how, what it meant to her to finally wear her hair natural.
Stacy Philpot: 00:48:59 Um, so the day I realized that I could only be who I was was when I decided to wear my hair natural. And you were at Google when I did, absolutely. And so I had these little twists. It was much shorter and I was so scared to go to work the next day because I was like, I don't know if people are gonna look at me differently if they're going to have all these questions, if they're going to think differently and my hair is not straight there have all the, you know. So I was like, I'm just going to go and I went. Everyone was like, okay, let's start the meeting.
Stacy Philpot: 00:49:34 So a lot of it was about me and about my own insecurities. So that was when I realized I'm just gonna I can only be Stacey and you're going to have to just accept me for who I am. So my advice is just to be who you are, be your authentic self, be willing to take risks and be willing to put yourself out there. Because when you do like, I'll a la Stacey going natural. Most people are gonna. Look at this. All right, that's good for me. Yeah, that's good for me. And, and be about something that's more than your individual self because people are inspired by a mission. Everybody's a leader, whether you're managing people or not and people are inspired by a mission. So be about something that's more than just yourself. That's awesome. I never told you this, but when I was at Google I remember you going natural and that actually me to go natural while I was at Google. So, uh, I, I said if stacy's doing it then everyone can do it. And so within I think a couple months of making that decision, I did what's called the big chop, so I was chemically straightening my hair before that and decided to go natural after that and have been natural since then. Very good. Your hair is beautiful. Thank you.
Rianka: 00:50:57 I know that's a struggle that we as women of color have, especially in this white male dominated profession and just white dominated is, is like America has this view of what professional looks like and we're changing that dynamic,
Angela: 00:51:15 right? I have a story of. I used to always straighten my hair always. Uh, I just felt like people would view me as unprofessional if I came to work with my hair curly. But, uh, later on in my career as I had more credentials and things like that, I just started thinking to myself, I don't care. I'm going to wear my hair natural because that's what I feel like doing. And if they fire me I'll get another job because of my credentials. And I just, you know. And the other thing though is I thought, you know, what about all the women that come after me, I want to show that you can have curly hair and be exotic and you know what, you know, what did it for me. I have a friend Nadeen and I met her at this event and she was wearing a black suit but she had neon pink fingernails and Neon pink high heels.
Angela: 00:52:17 And I remember thinking like, who is this, like what is going on? And then I go up to her and I talked to her and she's got this strong British accent and she's, she's a, she's black, but she was high up. I mean she's like a producer at CNN and she went to Oxford University, I mean one of the best universities in the world. And I just thought like, wow, she's owning it. Like she knows what she brings to the table. So she's like, I don't care. I'm going to wear my pink fingernails, you know, or whatever. And I have a friend Rochelle, she's Jamaican and she's just got this bright, colorful personality and she's the same way. She will wear bright purple lipstick, she will have bright fingernails. It's, it's this color and it's this enthusiasm and joy that she's being herself. And I did often feel in corporate America, like I often would wear a black suit, black shoes, pearl earrings and straight hair every single day.
Angela: 00:53:21 And it just got to the point later on where, you know, I might wear a colorful skirt to work one day with a black blouse. I, it Kinda like started sprinkling in things because I realized something very, very important. And that was branding. We live in a world where everybody is doing the same thing in the financial planning world. You know, everybody's in a black suit and I was reading this book and it was talking about how you shouldn't wear a black suit and you shouldn't wear, you know, plain black pumps because it's intimidating and people are going to relate to you more if you were a bright, like a lighter color, you know, or bows on your shoes. Things like that. And it really had me thinking like people are seeing me as like a robot, I need to let them see who I am.
Angela: 00:54:12 These people are coming to me, they're, they're trusting me with their life savings and they don't even know who I am. And when I got to that point and I just kinda started being myself in meetings with clients or wearing my hair curly, oh Angela, I love your hair. It just brightened up the meeting and brightened up the room. And I just started doing it more and more. And I realized that branding is so important. And especially now as I have my own firm, it's all about branding. And I think when you work for someone, it's hard to establish your own brand.
Rianka: 00:54:49 I am sure that because you were able to bring your true authentic self from literally from your head to how your hair grows out of your scalp all the way down to your feet, that you were able to exude and bring this confidence that you probably didn't bring before it. And if from a technical standpoint, I'm pretty sure you knew what you were talking about. I mean, you're a certified financial planner, you have some other credentials behind your name so you know, what you were talking about, but now you are able to bring your personality, you were able to bring yourself, which is, I think we're coming into an age of women of color fully stepping into who we are and being very proud of it. And is um, a couple of clips I want to share from Nina Simone and if you don't know who Nina Simone is and we'll put it in the show notes. Um, she has a Netflix documentary. I mean she has since passed, but it's a couple of years old and she talks about being an artist of her time and reflecting what was happening in the world
Nina Simone: 00:55:57 I choose to reflect the times and the situations and returned back to me is my duty at this crucial time in our lives. When everything is so desperate when everyday is a matter of survival. I don't think you can help but be in love, young people, black and white, know this, that's why they're so involved in politics. We will shape and mold this country. Or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore, so I don't think you have a choice. How can be an artist and not reflect the times?
Rianka: 00:56:30 And so most of these conversations or interviews happened in the 1960s when it was the civil rights movement and her music, but what she shared was how important it was to be proud of who you are and she's a black woman, so of course she's saying the beautiful of black people and how to be and just be proud of that, but we can't do it alone as far as just moving the needle forward like it's black and white and purple and brown and every shade of, of hues that are out there. We have to come together. Uh, so I'm gonna share that clip
Nina Simone: 00:57:11 To me, we are the most beautiful creatures in the whole world. Black people. So my job is to make them more curious about where they came from and their own identity and pride in that identity. That's why my songs, I try to make them as powerful as possible. Mostly just to make them curious about themselves. We don't know anything about ourselves, we don't even have the pride and the dignity of African people, but we can, we, we can't even talk about where we came from. We don't know. It's like a lost race. I know that there are only 300 black students here in this college of 18,000 so this song is dedicated only to you. [music plays]
Rianka: 00:58:14 Angela, what does it mean to you to be a woman of color in this profession? Because you're, you're not black, you're black, but you're biracial. Like me.
Angela: 00:58:28 You know, it's funny because when I first, and I don't remember who told me this, but I remember someone pulled me aside and was like, you don't have to tell people you're black. Just tell them you're international, you know, when you're branding yourself, brand yourself as someone international and let people question and wonder what you are. And I remember thinking like,
Angela: 00:58:53 no, I get it. Um, and that's very applicable here in Miami. But, you know, the thing is, is that I'm proud. I'm proud of who I am. I'm not just proud to be black, but I'm also proud to be interracial and I'm proud. You know, I grew up
Angela: 00:59:11 in Germany, my mom is German and I grew up there. I speak German fluently and there's a huge cultural difference and, I cherish
Angela: 00:59:23 that experience. I cherish that. I am different of all, you know, when I was younger I didn't like being different, but now that I'm older I love that I'm different. I love that. My story is, is unique and you know, I also am proud to be black and um, you know, I just, at this point I don't even necessarily. If someone were to ask me what are you say I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm a black woman, but I don't focus on that a lot. I just kinda do me and be who I am and do whatever I feel like doing and I don't let those boundaries or whatever define me, but at the same time I understand that we have to lift as we climb. Absolutely. And so, you know, even though I feel very confident in who I am and I don't care about all these different things that supposedly hold us back, I think that they're very real.
Angela: 01:00:26 And I think that a lot of us are, dealing with that, so I like to be available to other women just like how you were available to me. I like to pour into others. I like to motivate them and lift them up. You know, one of the things that, that I see all the time is just young people who are kind of boxed into something and you know, just because they don't know, they haven't been exposed to more. So I love to go out and talk about, you know, what I do for a living and how I got there and you know, I talk to kids all the time. I'm like have a side hustle, know how to Dj or know how to do hair or know how to do plumbing or electrical work or carpentry. Like learn some kind of skill because we all need someone to kind of school us on the important things that no one ever told us.
Angela: 01:01:25 And especially when it comes to being a black woman in a world where, you know, people might look at you crazy if you wear your hair curly. People might look at you crazy if you wear a wrap or something or whatever and it, oh, that's not professional or whatever. I get it, but we work in a people world and so a lot of these firms are old school and that's a whole nother conversation because there's a whole generation of older advisors, right? Who've always done it a certain way and now there's this whole new generation of new advisors who are kind of breaking down all the walls and doing whatever they want to do and so sometimes you're caught in between that. Especially if you work at a firm like you, you need to be traditional and you need to be professional, but at the same time you want to show your personality and differentiate yourself.
Rianka: 01:02:19 Agreed. So agree with you and I feel like we are in an age. I felt like we're reliving the sixties right now. If I can be just completely honest and just what Nina Simone said in her clip and just we're trying to regain our strength of who we are and being unapologetically who we are in a sense of. I mean, Beyonce's Coachella performance, first of all, it was a phenomenal jaw, dropping two hours, very suspenseful. I didn't move. I was sitting on the floor in my living room and my husband, he thought something was wrong with me because I was fixated on the TV and my mouth was open for two hours. He was like, are you okay? I'm like, Reggie, not now. You do not talk to me right now. But what we saw, I feel like the financial planning world could learn a lot from Beyonce's Coachella performance because what she gave was I'm unapologetically a black woman.
Rianka: 01:03:30 She gave us HBCU. She gave us a marching band. She gave us, um, lift every voice and sing, the black national anthem, and what was crazy? What was crazy after the performance of, of what. What I found out is that her mom, Aunt Tina or Tina Knolwes her mom, Auntie Tina said, I told Beyonce that I was afraid that the predominantly white audience at Coachella would be confused by all the black culture and black college culture because it was something they may not get. And Beyoncé's or response was. I have worked very hard to get to the point where I have a true voice and at this point in my career I have a responsibility to do what's best for the world and not what is most popular. So she came out in the beginning of her performance as an Egypt, Goddess Nefertiti. She, um, had a step show, which if you don't know about the divine nine, it's the historically black Greek letter organizations for the black community.
Rianka: 01:04:39 And um, she just gave us everything. And so I feel like you're saying the same thing as what Beyonce is doing. And then also like with me, I feel like I'm at a level, a point in my career where I feel like it's my responsibility to help educate everyone in this profession about why is it so important to have a conversation with someone who does not look like you. And for majority of the financial planning world, we know that it's white. We know that it's male and we know that majority of the CFP holders are over the age of 70, than they are under the age of 30. And so just like with what you said as far as just like most of the financial planning world is traditional, it's like we've been doing things the same things where, you know, the last 20 years, why you Angela want to come in here and shake things up and it's just like I'm seeing firsthand these RIAs, these small boutique firms, who are losing and also these brokerage firms who are losing dynamic, thriving, energetic professionals like yourself because we decide that we want to start our own firms so that we can truly service the clients that we feel like we can make the most impact with as well as we can just be ourselves.
Angela: 01:06:01 Yes. And I don't, I don't know if you knew this, but Beyonce was the first black woman to headline at Coachella ever. Yeah. Which is hard to believe.
Rianka: 01:06:11 It's been 19 years that Coachella has been around and she's the first black woman. And she said it. She made it known
Angela: 01:06:19 and she knew that, you know, and the thing about Beyonce, to me, and I'm a huge Beyonce fan. My friends are probably laughing right now. Um, but Beyonce has always been huge in my life because she looks like me. I mean, I'm not saying I look like Beyonce, but I'm just saying it's someone out there that is kind of representing me because she's exposing someone who looks like me to the rest of the world, you know, I remember when I was young in Germany and people would be like, how'd you get your skin like that?
Angela: 01:06:55 How'd you get your hair? Like. And it's just like this feeling of always being different and when you're young, you know, when I was young I just wanted to fit in, I wanted to have straight hair, I wanted to have blonde hair and I wanted to look like everyone else looked. And it wasn't until later in life that I started to appreciate that I was unique and that I was different. And I think what Beyonce brings is that she exposes to the world how different our culture is and how amazing it is. And everybody loves it. Yes. It's up there. And she does her, you know, Houston thing. She does her black culture things. She does whatever she wants to do and they love it and they soak it in and it really does open a lot of doors for us because when we show up somewhere, we are now more familiar to the world because of her, if that makes sense, because they've seen someone who looks like us and that someone is cool and you know, they want to know more about that person's culture and it's like they can do that through us and so I don't even know if she knows it, but she just opens up so many doors.
Angela: 01:08:11 In so many different ways and what's cool about her is that she's authentic. It's like it's. And she, she does not feel bad about it. She's a boss. She will go in there and be like, this is what we're doing because this is what I want to do and I'm the boss and she believes in her magic. She believes in her ideas, but at the same time, if you watch her interviews, she listens. She listens to her dancers, she listens to the input of other people. So it's not like she's, is she in her mind, she knows what she wants to accomplish and knows what she wants to do, but at the same time she's lifting this whole community up with her, all her dancers, all the people that work with her and she's giving them the ability to be creative. She listens to their ideas, she implements their ideas.
Angela: 01:09:01 Remember those African dancers that she had in who runs the world, girls like, she just, she'll find unique talent that goes otherwise ignored and she will highlight that talent. She will bring that to a international stage. And that's what I love about her is that she's not cookie cutter. She's like, you know what? Whatever's cookie cutter, that's for everyone else like me, I'm going to do me. And it's crazy because she got so much backlash after doing the, um, the superbowl, our superbowl, she came right back and she's like, I don't even care. I'm about to do it all over again at Coachella, but different, you know.
Rianka: 01:09:44 And, and not just 20 minutes, but I'm gonna give you two hours.
Angela: 01:09:47 Yes. And you know what? Going to Howard University, being in the Mecca and experiencing that black university culture, it is something you feel bad for the rest of the world that they didn't get to experience that.
Angela: 01:10:04 That's how good it is. It's just amazing. If it's the best experience I ever had in my life going to Howard and she tried to show that on stage, you know, I don't think it was as good as the real experience, but like people got to see what kind of fun and soul and rhythm we put into our everyday lives. You know, it's a cultural thing. I was just watching that video yesterday of the black students getting bum rushed off the stage during graduation. That was thinking about that, about how culturally we celebrate a lot of things through music and movement and dance. Know that's just how we are and that it's such a beautiful thing when you go in the yard at Howard during homecoming and, and the, the AKs or doing a dance and the Kappas are doing a dance and there's music and performance and everybody's dancing and singing and moving like that is something that brings us great joy and I think for the rest of the world to be able to see that, to say like when our band performs, they're not just standing there playing the instrument, you know, standing straight up, they are moving, you know.
Angela: 01:11:16 And that's just.
Rianka: 01:11:18 Let me tell you something real quick and let me tell you something real quick. So I grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. So I, it's, I mean it's a lot different than when I grew up, but I grew up in Norfolk and I went to high school in Virginia Beach and eighth grade in Virginia beach desks. When my dad came back from me, he was a navy long story anyways. So when I went to Virginia beach and the high school football games and I saw the band. Now, let me tell you, the band was good. I mean they hit all the notes but it was so stiff. I was like, wait, wait, was this the halftime performance? I would joke with my cousin Patrice, Patrice, she went to northview high school and I was like, I'm coming there because I need, I need to see a real halftime performance and is so funny.
Rianka: 01:12:09 Anytime I'm on instagram and I see like a band performance, I'll always send that to her because it reminds me of my childhood. It reminds me when I was in high school and how during half time. I mean we were there for the games, but we're really there for the halftime show and just dancing and hearing the bands and like, oh, are they going to play the new song from whoever you know, just had a new song out and yeah, it's just so cool. And for the listeners who don't know, I'll add this in the show notes, but I think the graduation ceremony you're referring to Angela, is. It happened down in Florida where students, I mean, you know, we walk across the stage to get our diploma, but what, but what these students wanted to do in form of celebration because not everybody just walks and shake hands to celebrate, you know, from a cultural perspective. It's dance as rhythm. It's a form of celebration for us. And they were literally bum rushed, violently grabbed very aggressively and pushed off the stage. And when I saw that I just, I was just shaking my head. I was just shaking my head
Angela: 01:13:19 and I feel like it's a lack of understanding that they got bum rushed like that because I'm sure they got bum rushed because whoever did it felt like that was, you know, tacky or inappropriate or whatever, but inappropriate. That's a cultural thing. Again, that's a cultural thing. One of the things that Beyonce's mom said in an interview one time was talking about allowing black people to be proud of their culture. And she was just saying that for so long we weren't allowed to celebrate our culture. Our culture was like, considered less than and you know, not good and you need to be more like this. And so she said she was talking about black history and she was talking about black people celebrating what makes us unique and what makes us different and celebrating our culture and being proud of that culture. And it reminds me seeing that the stage reminded me of that because sometimes we do things and it's not understood by others, um, because they grew up different than we did, but there's so much joy in what we do that it's hard for us to understand why they have a problem with it, you know?
Angela: 01:14:40 And so I think that one of the things that Beyonce does is she, she doesn't allow the norm to limit her. And that's one of the things I've taken on is don't allow what's normal to limit you. If everyone is wearing their hair straight, that's fine, but don't allow that to limit what you wear or how you do your hair or don't you know, if everyone believes that sticking with the firm is the best way to go, okay, that's what's for them. But for me, I just saw something bigger, I saw an opportunity, I saw a chance to really be bigger, do bigger, do more, you know, do more of what I feel like is important, which to me, educating the community and the way I set up my firm, I wanted everybody no matter what their income limit is, to have some kind of access to either financial planning or to financial education. Yeah. And that was my main concern is how do I help as many people as possible. Rianka: 01:15:45 And I think it's again, from just you learning about personal finance and being able to take this step and this leap without the fear of
Rianka: 01:16:00 like finances, um, because we typically, you know, sometimes we will bring on clients or we'll do things that we normally wouldn't necessarily do or bring on clients that we'd normally necessarily wouldn't, but it's because we need money. Right? But what you're able to do, you're just like, money is not an obstacle. What? Money is not an issue. What, what my goal, what, how I view success is how many people I can impact. And a lot of people ask me Rianka, how did you become so successful at a young age? Angela, how did you become so successful? Like how do you have all these marks and you know, just different things. And I think the correlation between you and I, which is what I hope the listeners will kind of take heed to and just truly listen. It's like we're not chasing dollars. We are chasing impact and because we're focusing our success or how much we impact people, just the accolades come, the recognition, the acknowledgement, all of that comes. But we're not focused on that. Like am I making sense?
Angela: 01:17:05 Absolutely. I think money is important. I mean I've had to especially now starting a business and I'm like, okay, money is important. Money is important because. Because number one, you have to be balanced. You have to be healthy too. So you can't be out here broke and struggling and trying to help other people when you're struggling it, number one. And number two, it takes money to expand the reach. And I mean let's just be real. Everything costs money. All of our software costs money. All of the tools we have to use to get information out there to people cost money every, even just printing a flyer or you know, sending out an ad to people. I mean all of that costs money so it takes money to run the business and it's perfectly okay. You know, I'm, I'm doing my master's right now and I'll be done in July. I'm getting a masters in financial planning, but I'm doing so the behavioral finance portion of it is so interesting to me because, you know, a lot of times financial advisors, we focus on all the technical aspects. You need to save, you need to pay off debt, we need to do this, we need to invest, but there's this other behavioral, there's a psych psychological aspect to money that is often ignored and one of those is as a, as a entrepreneur, it's even more real. Do you deserve to make money?
Rianka: 01:18:49 Oh my God, I am struggling. No, I
Rianka: 01:18:54 struggled and still struggle with this concept. When I was 26, I out earned both my mom and my dad. Like my pay jump went like $40,000 in one year. Like more and I went through that same thing, do I deserve to make this much money? What, what does this mean? And like now I am the breadwinner of not only my family, between me and my husband, I'm the breadwinner of my family and that's just a whole different dynamic, but it comes, it goes back to behavioral finance. So yeah, what is it that way? What are your key takeaways of learning? Um, that portion of, of these courses?
Angela: 01:19:44 Well, just that, you know, you see behaviors in people and there's deep rooted reasons for that behavior. It's not education and information doesn't always solve the problem. Sometimes people know what they're supposed to be doing for the most part, but they're not doing it. Why is that? So there's deeper rooted issues. Sometimes it goes back to how they were raised as a child. Experiences they've had fears of there's um, you know, and sometimes as a financial advisor, some of your meetings, might just be listening, letting them get it all out, you know, whatever it is. And, but at the same time, we also have to do that with ourselves, you know? Okay. I'm, I'm self employed now. I need to make money here. I am. You know, just yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine, her brother contacted me for a moment there.
Angela: 01:20:47 I was about to be like, oh, I'll just help you for free. I had to check myself because the thing is like when you work with someone you put hours and now you know this. Oh, you don't know if. I don't know if clients realize this. They may think, oh it doesn't. How much time could it possibly take? But with one client you could easily be spending 15 to 20 hours behind the scenes for one meeting. Oh yeah. And, and people don't. So you, you need to be compensated for that, it's normal for you to be compensated for that. You know, and one of the things I thought about in my business is, if someone can't afford to work with me one on one than hey, let me offer these other ways. Like, let me have group classes, let me have workshops, let me have my online financial academy.
Angela: 01:21:36 That way I don't feel bad. You know, if someone, if someone can't really afford it at this time, you know, because I'm only one person and so in order for me to really help people, I need to put the time in and I need to, I need to spend the time with them. So if I started taking on a whole bunch of people that aren't paying me, how am I going to help? It's not going to help me or them. So I had to really think about that and check my, my own fears and my own, um, I need to be a boss. I need to be a business woman. This is a business and I'm in the business to help people. But at the same time I need to be compensated for in like in my store, you know, it's worth it. People may not see up front, but when you start looking at your account growing and your debt being paid off and all the progress you're making, you realize that money with you got all that money back and more, you know, from working with a planner.
Rianka: 01:22:39 And I think what's so hard, like I've, I've struggled with the same thing because, you know, people will reach out to me and it's just like, oh, you know, you know, they, I can see that they truly can't afford, you know, to work with me. Um, and so I have other resources where I'll send them as far as like nonprofits, but it's really hard because as far as like a shift mentally because we volunteer so many, we have in the past volunteer at so many of our hours
Rianka: 01:23:06 to people who are just reaching out. And so it's a mental shift that we have to make because now that we're business owners, we can't keep doing that.
Angela: 01:23:13 Right. You can't. There's no way. I have been happier than ever since I left my job and have been building my own business. However, I've been working more hours than ever. And it's funny, I don't even know if I'm supposed to say this, but one of my other friends who also launched a business, she was like Angela. I literally was sitting in the basement for days working and hadn't showered. And my husband came downstairs and was like, can you please go take a shower? And I have been staying up, I mean sometimes I'll stay up until two in the morning, you know, last night I was up till three in the morning.
Rianka: 01:23:52 Yeah, I got a email or something from you or tagged in something. I'm like, what is she doing up so late?
Angela: 01:23:59 Because you know, well first of all I'm on the executive board of the Financial Planning Association. I'm doing my masters. I have a husband, I have two dogs, I have family, I have friends and I have this business. And the business is like marketing, trying to get clients, working on the website, trying to get interviews, trying to set up my launch party, doing all the administrative stuff from regulatory, getting signed up with the different. I mean the list goes on. It's like the list never ends. So I know that I need to have balance and things like that. But I have not been stressed out one single day since I left my job. I have more work to do. I have more on my plate, I have more pressure than ever in my life. But I have been so relaxed and so happy. I'm able to go outside and water my plants whenever I want to.
Angela: 01:24:59 I can take my dogs for a walk. The first week after I quit my job, I went to the grocery store at 10:00 AM. I couldn't believe it. No cars in the parking lot. There was no traffic on the way there. There was nobody in line. It was the most relaxing and peaceful thing. I get up in the morning, I take a refreshing shower, I have a smoothie and I sit down at my desk and at work and it's, it's relaxing, but I'm so much more productive. I'm so happy. And I, it's, it's interesting to say that because I am trying to build a paycheck. Like, I mean I haven't had. It took me three or listen, I quit December sixth and it wasn't until April, like April 11th maybe that I got my registration finalized. Yeah. So that's four months of no income and had prepared in advance.
Angela: 01:26:05 But I didn't think it would take that long. I mean, I thought I was more so thinking I would have money while I ramp up, like once I started my business, I may not have that many clients at first and I'll have the savings, those whole months. I couldn't even do any marketing. I couldn't even talk about my. I mean I couldn't do anything, so it's like I was just living off savings those first few months. And now I'm just now ramping up. I'm just now about to have my launch party next week.
Rianka: 01:26:33 Congratulations on that. So proud of you. I'm so, so, so proud of you. So I do have one more question to ask you before, um, before we end this conversation, you know, as you look back on your journey in your career, what are some of the ways that you have invested in yourself, either personally or professionally that has supported the growth of you as a person?
Angela: 01:27:00 Well, first me hiring a financial advisor really changed my life, but then also going to church, really helped me. I didn't grow up in a religious household or anything like that and I started going to church and there was just so many things. I learned so many lessons just to kind of have faith and not feel like you have to carry the whole world on your shoulders and just do your best and let God handle the rest. I've read lots of books, self help, books and friendships. I have the saying that every relationship matters and in someone's shared, one of my mentors shared that with me and it's actually a book called every relationship matters, but it's so true that nurturing the relationships around you, whether it's your friends, your family, coworkers, whatever it may be, um, those people will invest into you. You just have no idea that things you pick up and the energy you pick up from surrounding yourself with amazing people.
Angela: 01:28:03 It uplifts you. I feel like all my friends inspire me and keep me going. You know, one of my friends just wrote a book, another one wrote a book. You know, these, they started businesses before me. So I see what's going on around me and it's inspirational and I feel like I can do that too. So that's huge. Professionally, just trying to get as much experience as possible. You know, one of the things I've done and we talk about, we were talking about giving back. I have talked at churches, I've talked at schools, I've talked, whoever asked me or whoever will have me, I will go speak. And so that has given me a lot of experience speaking in front of audiences and I noticed recently that a lot of people aren't comfortable with speaking in public or are they just even know how to get started with it.
Angela: 01:29:02 And so investing in others has truly meant investing in myself even though I didn't realize it every time that I helped someone on the side for free. That was experience that was leading me up until this point. Because as I'm launching my own business, the process, I've been doing it for years, even though I wasn't getting paid, you know, working with the young professionals. I've been doing it. I know what the issues are. I know what the talking points are, I know the process, I know all that because I've been doing it for years and so when you invest in others, you really are investing in yourself and that's one of the points I would like to make. And then thirdly is just getting as many certifications and as much training as possible. I, um, before launching I got my CFP, I had my CRPC, I got the CFI, which is certified financial education instructor. I am doing my masters obviously. I will soon have my master planner designation and then after that I probably will do something in either financial coaching or behavioral finance, which I'm really loving right now. So just always learning and always growing and becoming an expert because that opens up so many doors. You know, I, I look at possibly writing a book, possibly I'm getting paid to speak and just so many and even teaching at a university. So I look at all these different opportunities that come from investing in yourself.